Location: Hidaka, Saru-gun/Shimizu, Kamikawa-gun
Elevation: 1326m (~400m elevation gain)
Length: Half-day (3km roundtrip)
Hiked on: April 10th, 2016
From the top of Nissho Pass, the high point on Route 247 which connects the Ishikari Plain and the Tokachi Plain, there are a couple officially unnamed peaks that are popular backcountry destinations and were thus given nicknames. The first is Nissho Peak, a ~1400m peak located to the south of Route 247. The other is Rozan Kumami, to the north of the pass and named after the neighbouring named, yet smaller mountain called Kumamiyama.
The start point for Rozan Kumami is on the Hidaka-side of the S-shaped blue “snow shelter” just below the highest point of the pass (the starting point for Nissho Peak is on the other side, between the snow shelter and Nissho Tunnel.) Carefully cross the road and walk along the shelter and you’ll quickly see the wide, open slope that leads up to Rozan Kumami. The route is simple, and if you keep going up while skirting the open slope and the more treed bit to the left, you’ll quickly be on the main ridge which leads to the summit.
There’s no signs to indicate the peak, but it should be pretty clear when you’re at the top. The view of the Tokachi Plain to the east is fantastic, and you’ll get a great view of the norther Hidaka Range to the south and the Tokachi and Daisetsuzan Ranges to the north.
From the top, there are a couple gerende, or “runs,” that you can drop into. Immediately to the north is “Aoki Gerende,” a bowl which drops you down towards the town of Shimizu. You can get as much as 400~500m of vertical if you want, but keep in mind that you will have to climb back up to the ridge to get back to the car.
To the south, and back towards the road, is “Hozu Gerende,” which is the big open slope that you hiked up. Keep in mind that the ridge you hiked up will be to the skier’s right of the bowl at the top of the slope.
Both runs are great fun although nothing too extreme, and has awesome lapping potential. Both are also lee slopes with big cornices at the top though, so best to play it conservatively when conditions are sketchy.
This was my first time skiing in the Hidaka Range (albeit this is only the very northern tip of it and nothing representative of the bigger mountains there) and I’m definitely looking forward to discovering more of it next winter. If only it weren’t so far…